January 23, 2019

Judge who gave Stanford swimmer 6 months gets recalled

08 June 2018, 04:48 | Devin Moran

The Latest: Early results show voters favoring judge recall

Activists hold signs calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky from the bench after his controversial sentencing in the Stanford rape case in San Francisco California

She was able to fire up the emotions of many (especially women) who felt Persky's six-month jail sentence of Stanford student Brock Turner was too light and the judge should be punished for treating a sexual assault so leniently.

Voters Tuesday recalled a Santa Clara County judge over a sexual assault sentence for a former Stanford swimmer that garnered national attention. In addition to his prison term, Brock was sentenced to three years probation and must remain a lawfully registered sex offender for the rest of his life.

But Persky adopted a recommendation from the county probation department and cited Turner's clean criminal record, age, loss of his Stanford swimming career and other factors, including the involvement of alcohol, for the short jail sentence. However, Persky sentenced Turner to only six months in jail and he was released after serving three months behind bars, reported the Associated Press.

University of California, Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky said the recall also sent another message that would have a "real impact" on judges' decision making.

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who helped found and spearhead the recall campaign, posted a photo on Twitter late yesterday in front of a TV showing a wide margin of the vote stood in favour of recalling Persky. Persky has said he was following the rule of law, not the rule of public opinion, and says he has no regrets. For the Recall Persky campaign, that required 90,000 signatures from Santa Clara voters and a meticulously crafted spiel.

During the May 8 news conference, he said that the threat of a recall "is a subtle and insidious, silent corrupting force ... that will enter the minds of judges as they contemplate hard decisions".

Only five states - California, Arizona, North Dakota, Oregon and Wisconsin - allow judges to be recalled for any reason.

Turner was convicted of felony sex crimes in March 2016 for sexually assaulting a woman who had passed out after a fraternity party.

Her statement, published in full by BuzzFeed, quickly went viral.

Still in its early stages, the effort is likely to face an uphill battle given Tuesday's overwhelming voter sentiment at a time when #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment has swept a host of men out of their jobs, including Persky, who will give up his Superior Court seat in early to mid-July when his successor, prosecutor Cindy Hendrickson, is sworn in.

Persky held his first public news conference days before the AP interview and declined to speak about the details of the Turner case because it was going through the appeal process. Mr Rosen also opposed the recall, though he said the sentence was too lenient. As a judge, my role is to consider both sides. He didn't. No misconduct or malfeasance by him, no illegalities, just one unpopular decision during his years as a judge.

Evan McMorris-Santoro, the reporter behind the piece tidily sums up Dauber's efforts: "What you have now is people using the political system to call bullshit on the judicial one". "It sort of corroborates the evidence of his character up until the night of this incident, which has been positive", Persky said of the "evidence".

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